Oh, About that Evaluation…

It’s that time of year again – the annual performance evaluation. Are you one who looks forward to the time to dialogue with your supervisor/employee about the past year’s performance? Or, do you dread and agonize over the impending mandatory meeting? You may not want to hear this, but the reality is you do choose your attitude for this meeting. Regardless if you are giving or receiving the evaluation your attitude is your decision.

For those who look forward to the meeting, it often is related to a positive relationship that is built on trust, honesty, and respect. Or, it could be that the employee is considered one of the supervisor’s “favorite” employees and feels no need to be concerned. I won’t even attempt to cover all the possible reasons that lead an employee to be a favorite over another employee. One, because that is another discussion entirely of its own, secondly, it usually entails more illogical than logical thinking (depending on the perceiver).

To make the evaluation process as productive and satisfying for all parties concerned, it is helpful to focus on the purpose. For the supervisor, it is an opportunity to provide constructive feedback about how the employee is progressing towards and accomplishing previously agreed upon goals. Although some people (on both sides of the process) get confused at this point, the purpose of the process is not about how you like or dislike the other person. If this seems to be the case, then I encourage one or both parties to avail themselves, either individually or collectively, to the resources available to facilitate the management and resolution of conflicts. Being able to separate the person from the problem is often difficult but necessary to achieve a fair, respectful, and useful evaluation. If you feel the need or desire to discuss some issues with candor and “tough love” there is assistance to prepare for the conversation in the form of coaching. These resources (Ombuds Office, Human Resources) are applicable to both employee and supervisor.

The performance evaluation process is really about assessing and making progress towards workplace and professional goals and communicating in a way that is beneficial to each party and the common good of the organization – avoid choosing to make it about something it’s not.